About Intestinal Cancer

Intestinal cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that affects the large intestine (colon) or the rectum. It starts as abnormal growths, also known as polyps, in the lining of the colon or rectum, which can eventually turn into cancerous cells. Intestinal cancer is the third most common type of cancer worldwide, with approximately 1.8 million new cases diagnosed each year. It can occur in both men and women, and the risk increases with age, with most cases occurring in people over the age of 50. However, with early detection and proper treatment, intestinal cancer can be successfully treated.

Precautions & Factors:

Several factors can increase the risk of developing intestinal cancer. These include:

  • Age: As mentioned earlier, the risk of developing intestinal cancer increases with age.
  • Family history: A family history of intestinal cancer increases the likelihood of developing the disease.
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease: People who have a history of inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, have a higher risk of developing intestinal cancer.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits: smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and a diet high in red and processed meats can increase the risk of intestinal cancer.
  • Lack of physical activity: A sedentary lifestyle can also increase the risk of intestinal cancer.


There are various methods used to diagnose and assess a potential case of intestinal cancer, including:

  • Colonoscopy: This is a procedure in which a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end is inserted into the rectum and colon to look for abnormalities and collect tissue samples for testing.
  • Fecal occult blood test: This test detects small traces of blood in the stool, which can be a sign of intestinal cancer.
  • Biopsy: If abnormal growths or polyps are detected during a colonoscopy, a biopsy may be performed to confirm if they are cancerous.

Signs & Symptoms:

Intestinal cancer may not present with obvious symptoms in its early stages, which makes regular screening and check-ups crucial. Some common symptoms of intestinal cancer include:

  • Persistent changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or alternating between the two.
  • Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding.
  • Abdominal discomfort, pain, or cramping that does not go away.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Feeling of incomplete bowel movement.
  • Fatigue, weakness, and persistent anemia.


After a diagnosis of intestinal cancer, further tests may be required to determine the extent and stage of the cancer. These may include:

  • Blood tests to check for tumor markers and other abnormalities.
  • CT scan, MRI, or PET scan to get detailed images of the colon and surrounding organs.
  • X-rays to check for any spread of cancer to the bones.
  • Ultrasound to evaluate the liver and surrounding lymph nodes.

Instructions during Treatment:

The treatment of intestinal cancer depends on the stage and type of cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health. The main treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. During treatment, it is essential to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully. This may include:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding foods that may aggravate symptoms.
  • Keeping up with follow-up appointments and tests.
  • Taking medication as prescribed.
  • Staying physically active and managing stress.
  • Seeking support from loved ones and joining support groups.

Post Treatment Support:

After completing treatment for intestinal cancer, it is essential to continue regular follow-up appointments with the doctor. These visits may include physical exams, imaging tests, and blood tests to monitor for any signs of recurrence. Emotional support is also crucial during this time, and patients may benefit from joining support groups or seeking counseling to cope with any lingering emotional distress.


1. Can intestinal cancer be prevented?
While there is no definite way to prevent intestinal cancer, making healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a balanced diet, quitting smoking, and staying physically active, can lower the risk.

2. Is there a specific diet I should follow during treatment for intestinal cancer?
It is essential to follow a healthy and balanced diet during treatment. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific needs.

3. Is intestinal cancer hereditary?
In most cases, intestinal cancer is not hereditary. However, a family history of the disease can increase the risk, and genetic testing may be recommended for individuals with a strong family history.

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